The addition of Noel Mazzone to the Texas staff intrigues me, though it appears the role is that of ‘quality control’. Mazzone brings with him decades of experience, both college and pro. He also brings with him a system, ‘N-Zone’, his own proprietary approach to offensive football. Mazzone’s impact on the program will not be clear until fans see the product on the field. That said, it would be hard to tell as well, because the offense needs to the most tinkering, in both personnel and philosophy. Having said that, some things came to mind when I heard of the hire, let’s discuss.
Experience – Mazzone’s been around at the highest levels of football. He has a very good idea what works and what doesn’t, based on who’s running it. If he’s to stick to a ‘QC’ role, his experience scouting opposing teams will be invaluable and time-saving. Also, because Mazzone has a knack for simplification, a thorough examination of the offense, its language, its install, and its execution may be in order. Mazzone can do that for you.
System – Mazzone is one of the original ‘one-back’ guys. He was around during the days of the ‘Run & Shoot’ offense, still utilized today in parts. His system, N-Zone is run by high schools and colleges nationwide. It’s known for its simplicity, ‘ease of use’ for the players. If the staff wished to adopt it, Mazzone would be there to help the staff and oversee its teaching, installation, and trouble-shooting, that’s big! Now, this is conjecture, but it’s my opinion that Mazzone is better than what we currently have on staff, as a coach and coordinator (don’t @ me!). N-Zone would be a slight upgrade in attacking philosophy and that matters in the Big 12. What would stay the same? N-Zone is also a ‘spread to run’ system, much like Herman’s. Where it may offer the most is in the passing game. While it’s not Air Raid, similar concepts are utilized and streamlined to enable proficiency. Lastly, run-pass options, Mazzone has kept up with the times and N-Zone packages these concepts within both run and pass series.
Red Flag – Something else that occurred to me, is Mazzone’s presence a direct threat to Beck’s play-calling duties? We can’t know that. Nevertheless, it reminds me of the Greg Robinson hire during Manny Diaz’ embattled tenure. Should Beck continue to falter and the higher-ups clamor louder, Herman now has a fall-back plan and a guy who many would argue is better than the current coordinator.
Those are just a few of my thoughts about the Mazzone hire. I love it! Now, no coach is a miracle worker, but Mazzone’s offenses have almost always been efficient and explosive. Of course, personnel also matters. It’s my opinion that Mazzone brings more to the table than the entire host of coaches currently on staff. That goes a long way and from what I hear, he’s a good guy, well done, Tom Herman. As always, share your thoughts in the comments.